Jacob’s Amazing Power Brunch

February 8, 2010 § Leave a comment

Let me start by saying that Jacob is a wonderful husband, father, and a remarkably accomplished man all around – the number of cool things he’s done in his thirty years of life is mind-shattering, at least when it comes to the shattering of my mind. This young man has been closely involved with the starting of two schools,  has been a cowboy, a farmer, a teacher, and is not bad in the kitchen, either. Especially when it comes to what I think of as “Jacob’s brunch” – an amazing power meal of a filled herbed omelet, herbed fried potatoes, and a tomato-onion-and basil salad dressed with sunflower oil and red wine vinegar. Is your head spinning yet? Not like it would after your actually having it. It’s a grand feast indeed, a movable Thanksgiving of sorts, the consumption of which calls for a long rest well into the evening.

It is so delicious, I could not even begin to tell you. The combination of all the savory flavors is so, I don’t know… savory! Now Jacob’s supremely good at making me feel loved on a regular basis, but this meal is probably the most dramatic way he does it.

Anyhow, because it’s such a rich, laborious feast, he doesn’t make it very often, which makes it all the more special when he does. And because I now have this blog and have this idea of periodically featuring a photo/cooking session with a guest cook (someone other than Rebecca and myself), Jacob graciously agreed to both make the brunch and for it to be documented for posterity. He even made a special trip to the food co-op to make sure that we had all the necessary ingredients.

Well, without further ado, let me introduce you, ladies and gentlemen, Jacob’s Power Brunch!

We start with a partial list of ingredients here: potatoes, onions, shallots (optional), garlic (mandatory), scallions/chives, crimini mushrooms, fresh  basil, dried basil, dried oregano, oil and, what else – butter. Other things that will later be used and are not in the picture are cheddar cheese and milk for the omelet and red wine vinegar for the salad.

He starts by cutting all of the potatoes kind of like so.

He then makes a small pool of sunflower oil in the extra-large cast iron skillet.

When the oil is very, very hot – just below the smoking point, he adds the potatoes and stirs everything together until the potatoes are nice and oily all over. Be sure to stir and scrape frequently. Potatoes love to stick and burn!!

When the potatoes have begun to brown and soften, he adds dried oregano, salt, and pepper. Do not add your salt too early though! It will make the potatoes to release the slime that will cause them to stick and prevent them from browning properly! Please promise me you’ll never salt your potatoes too early?

Right away, he adds the chopped onions.

Then he stirs them in using a special ghost spatula.

While everything is cooking, he cuts some fresh basil leaves into strips. Man, basil in the middle of February smells heavenly! We don’t normally buy very many things out of season, so this is a special treat.

When the potatoes are nicely browned and both potatoes and the onions are tender, he turns off the heat, adds the basil, and gives everything one final stir. The potatoes are now ready!

Now on to the omelet filling:

He starts by slicing the scallions into cute little circles.

Next, he slices the mushrooms. He halves them, slices them across,

…and then lengthwise, resulting is neat little sections.

Until it all looks like this!

Notice how he’s already cut the garlic into little chunks – not too small – he wants them tender, not burned!

Now he melts what in my opinion is a very modest amount of butter in another cast iron skillet. Good thing we have four of them. What else would we be cooking in?

He sautes the garlic and the scallions in butter.

Then adds the mushrooms,

…and continues cooking everything until the mushrooms begin to soften (just a couple of minutes).

He then adds some diced tomatoes to the pan,

He doesn’t cook them – as soon as the tomatoes have been added, he turns off the heat (or you could turn off the heat first), and stirs everything together. This is high art, people. When it comes to cooking, Jacob’s got the eye of an artist – he is really into balancing the colors on your plate and all that.

Now he breaks some of our fresh eggs into a glass cup,

…adds some milk, salt, pepper, and some oregano… and by some I mean “lots and lots of oregano.” In our family we live by the belief that more is more, remember? Trust me, this is not too much.

He now whisks everything together. Ah, I love actions shots! They are much easier to do when one person can do the action and the other one can take the picture, and when the first person and the second person are not one and the same.

See now why you needed this much oregano? We like our omelets sort of on the green side.

More butter is melted in a separate skillet and some of the omelet mix is poured into the pan. Jacob likes to make his omelet in individual portions.

He lets them bubble away over medium or so heat.

As soon as the eggs begin to coagulate, he places some of the filling in the center,

…then tops it with some grated cheddar cheese,

and folds the omelet in half with a spatula. And it’s done!

Now the final thing to do is to make the salad!

Slice your tomatoes kind of like this. These are obviously out of season, and you can tell so by the look of them – but Jacob felt like this meal really needed “something red,” and, indeed, it’s not the same without tomatoes. Something about the way they pair with the eggs.

Now add to it some sliced onions and basil.

Now pour some sunflower oil and red wine vinegar over everything. Oh man! I am of a belief that tomatoes and sunflower oil have been created for each other.

Now sprinkle on a bit of dried oregano and stir everything around.

And your whole meal will look like this!

So dear is Jacob’s brunch to my heart, that it is permanently featured in the header of this blog, in case you were wondering what that heavenly dish on the left was. It is pure love on a plate.

Jacob’s Power Brunch

For potatoes:

  • 1.5-2 lb of Yukon gold or Russet potatoes, or a mixture of both
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • basil, cut into strips
  • sunflower or other oil, for frying
  • salt and black pepper to taste

Cut the potatoes into cubes or small slices. Heat the oil in a cast iron skillet and wait for it to get very hot – just below the smoking point. Add the potatoes and stir. Stir your potatoes frequently while cooking them over high heat. When the potatoes begin to brown, add the onions, and reduce the heat to medium. When both vegetables are tender, add salt and pepper, and turn off the heat. Add the basil and stir.

For the omelet filling:

  • 1 bunch scallions, chopped
  • a few mushrooms, sliced into small sections
  • 1 tomato, diced small
  • several garlic cloves, chopped, not minced
  • butter, for sauteing
  • 3 C grated cheddar cheese

Saute garlic and scallions in butter briefly, and add mushrooms. Continue sauteing until the mushrooms have become soft (a few minutes), remove from heat, and stir in the chopped tomato.

For the omelet:

  • 6 eggs
  • somewhere around 3/4 C milk
  • 3 T oregano (or less, if that’s too oregany for you)
  • several T butter, for frying
  • salt and pepper to taste

Beat the eggs with milk, salt and pepper, and oregano. Melt the butter in a cast iron skillet over medium heat and pour in enough of the egg mixture to make one individual omelet. As soon as the eggs begin to coagulate, place the filling in the center, and fold the omelet in half with a spatula. Serve immediately.

For the salad:

  • 4-5 tomatoes, sliced (in-season heirlooms are  best for the optimal experience, but whatever your palate can tolerate is fine)
  • 1/2 onion, sliced
  • a few basil leaves, cut into strips
  • a sprinkling of oregano
  • salt, to taste
  • sunflower (not the pale supermarket kind – Driftless Organic or the like only) or olive oil, for dressing
  • red wine vinegar, for dressing

Place all of the ingredients into a bowl and toss.

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